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Jason H. Friesen, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Ask A Doctor: Is nasal irrigation effective and safe?

Posted by on in Allergy
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Many people suffering from nasal congestion or post-nasal drip turn to the ancient practice of nasal irrigation to help relieve their symptoms. Scientific studies point to its beneficial uses, because irrigation:

  • Acts as a car wash for your nose, by cleaning out irritants and allergens that are present on your mucous membranes.
  • Clears away or thins out mucus. Believe it or not, our body produces about a quart of mucus in our lungs, nose and throat on a normal day. We only notice it when it makes more than usual or it gets thicker and more difficult to swallow. Thin mucus is less bothersome.
  • Helps wash away chemical messengers your nose uses when you’re experiencing symptoms.
  • Irrigation helps improve mucus clearance, which is accomplished by the beating of millions of microscopic hairs called cilia that move mucus down your throat to swallow and digest. You can test this at home by putting a little NutraSweet into your nose with a Q-tip. In a few minutes you will taste it in the back of your mouth.

140331OSM allergies2The two most popular techniques for irrigation involve a Neti pot or a sinus rinse made by NeilMed Pharmaceuticals that is available over the counter or online.

The question arises as to whether the water needs to be distilled or boiled. Most municipal drinking water is safe to use without boiling. You can find information about your city drinking water at the EPA website. Well water can be questionable, so it’s better to boil it or use distilled water. If you have any questions or concerns about nasal irrigation, feel free to contact us.

Board certified in pediatrics, as well as allergy and immunology, Dr. Jason Friesen sees patients of all ages. Caring and bright, he is passionate about finding a balance between the seriousness of food allergies and the importance of leading full and normal lives